NBSA has provided information on how to choose the right softball bat.
Slow Pitch vs. Fast Pitch Bat
There are two kinds of softball bats - slow-pitch and fast-pitch.
A fast pitch bat has a “bottle bat design” that makes it resemble a bottle. The bat tapers from the barrel, which is lengthened for more hitting surface. A fast-pitch bat is lighter for quicker swing time.
A slow-pitch bat shape is similar to baseball bats. Each softball bat has a Bat Performance Factor (BPF) to determine its performance level.
All softball bats must have a BPF of 1.20
There are some standards when it comes to sizing of softball bats. As an example, bat length based on age: from 24 to 26 inches for children 5 to 7, then up to 34 inches for those 17 and up. You can also determine your bat length by your height and weight. The chart will give you a thorough and accurate recommendation on the size of your bat. You’ll need to know your height in inches and your weight in pounds to use the chart. A 65-inch person who is between 131 and 140 pounds needs a 33-inch bat, according to the chart.
Most bats are weighted in ounces. The weight of a bat is referred to as its “drop”. The drop is the length of the bat minus its weight. There are standards set forth by leagues that set a minimum drop for different age groups. But beyond that, picking your bat weight depends on your strength and style of hitting. Smaller players should use a lighter bat, which will give them a faster swing. Bigger, heavier and stronger players can use a heavier bat that will allow them to put all of their force into their hit and swing.